Nearly 70, usually dressed in overalls, and favoring a three-stringed secondhand guitar, American blues musician Seasick Steve is probably the most unlikely rock star on the planet. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a certified phenomenon. He’s played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, appeared on Top Gear, and, earlier this month, joined Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones in front of a sold out crowd. In spite of a grueling schedule of festival gigs in the U.K., Steve managed to find time to record a cover of “Go to Hell” for the covers disc that accompanies Scandinavian indie poppers Billie the Vision and the Dancers’ new Best Of compilation.
Billie’s twee pop seems like an odd match for the ramshackle Seasick Steve treatment, but Steve has spent a significant part of his itinerant life in Norway. In spite of the Scandinavian connection, Steve’s cover is one hundred percent Southern twang. His interpretation, a simple concoction of soft guitar and hushed, raspy vocals, streamlines the track and gives it an unexpected gravity.